Your friends and family have the alpha version of your app on their phone, and you’ve heard nothing but praises about how beautiful it is, and how it’s “the next facebook”. But are they just picking up your ugly baby and telling you how cute it is? Deep down you know the answer: Yes. Your friends and family have been concerned about you ever since you started on this crazy project of yours, and lord know’s they’re worried if you can take any more rejection about your UI or crashes.

Luckily there’s a new family in town that’s painfully honest. Stockholm-based The Beta Family has launched out a nice marketplace for crowdsourcing usability testing on Android and iPhone.

“The main difference about us and other systems is that we are very open. You can always decide which tester you want to pay to test your app,” says Axel Nordenström, CEO of The Beta Family. You might pay another service a fixed amount to receive a certain number of testers, but in The Beta Family you can handpick who you think would provide the best feedback.

To facilitate this, after each test the developer rates the tester with a star rating, and also provides a short comment about what they thought about the test report. These comments are then available for other developers to read when shopping for testers, making it easier to find someone who provides quality feedback on games, for example. Nordenström compares it to Ebay – you can compare sellers and see what they’ve sold before.

If you beta test the app, they focus on four categories: usability, graphics and sounds, bugs/errors, and ‘other input’. But developers can also describe what they want out of the test, so testers can target their feedback.

There are obviously a lot of other companies who are also facilitating beta testing, but to use them their models typically require you to put down a lot of money upfront. With The Beta Family you can choose how much you want to put down for testing – from a few bucks to a couple hundred. The Beta Family takes 15% of the testing fee.

“Our system should work for small indie developers, but should also work for big companies to do a test – they can pay more to get access to the best testers.”

Today they’ve tested about 1,300 public and private apps. Here is a quick video about how it all works:

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